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Originally published August 31, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 31, 2007 at 2:04 AM

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Editorial

Idaho deserves a fresh start

Sen. Larry Craig can make life easier for himself and the people of Idaho by resigning his office. Or he can drag out his exit from public...

Sen. Larry Craig can make life easier for himself and the people of Idaho by resigning his office. Or he can drag out his exit from public life and do his family and his party a greater disservice.

His years of representing Idaho in public life are over. Craig's career ended with a guilty plea to unlawful behavior in a Minneapolis airport lavatory stall. Craig is not guilty of being gay. Or of being deceitful or in denial about his sexuality. The senator had a choice, and decided to put the dignity and privilege of his high office at risk in the pursuit of sex in a very public setting.

The official charge is misdemeanor disorderly conduct, but he is truly guilty of felonious stupidity and arrogance.

Craig's resignation is a chance for Idaho to start fresh. Already he has stood before the TV cameras to essentially repudiate his plea — one he kept secret from even the closest people around him.

At age 62, he was fully expected to run for another term in 2008. He could mark time and then announce he will not seek re-election. Perhaps, but nothing in his senatorial bluster the last few days suggests that is a certainty.

Craig could stand for election next year, and be slaughtered at the polls. That would be grossly unfair to his Republican Party.

Human frailties are magnified in the harsh light of a life served in front of and on behalf of the public. Second chances are extended, but there are limits. The surreal notion of a U.S. senator trolling for sexual gratification in an airport restroom crosses that boundary. He can try his luck and flout the law off the public payroll.

Craig — aggrieved, indignant and caught — is political history, so allow Idaho voters to skip to the epilogue. A quick, clean resignation allows a Republican to be appointed to fill the balance of Craig's term, and have a fair chance of holding the office in the 2008 election.

Thank Larry Craig for his service, and hope he finds peace with himself and makes things right with those who are hurt and disappointed by his actions.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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